Two Months Curly Girl – ACV rinse

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I am right at two full months of Curly Girl method and still really happy I made the choice to pay attention to my hair.

I have grown to LOOK FORWARD to washing it. This is huge. I have always dreaded the tangles and frizz and prep work that has gone into taming my mop of hair.

In the past I’d do all kinds of different things really without thought and hope for a good hair day. I’d end up in a pony tail more often than not.

Now, at least I know that I am working towards hydrated, healthy, frizz free waves. Even on the days it doesn’t come out so great, I am having fun experimenting and I chalk it up to a learning day instead of blindly trying to make my hair work.

I won’t go into extreme detail on what exactly I’m doing with my hair because you can find that here and here.

This month I had intentions of doing a rice water rinse because I saw other curlfriends (yes, curlfriends! that’s not weird, right?) doing them. However, my hair ended up coming out super limp with few waves on day (see below) and it was recommended that I clarify.

Anyway, being frugal I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of spending more money on a clarifier on top all the conditioner I am going through, so I opted for a DIY kind of clarifier—apple cider vinegar.

The issue with my hair was most likely a build up of product since I have been using some heavy stuff like Cantu Curl defining gel and Miss Jessie’s Jelly Soft curls.

The ACV works by stripping product build up and allowing the hair the go back to being able to soak up product when used. So basically the product won’t sit on oversaturated hair and will instead be absorbed and effective on the hair. It also helps hair to look shiny instead of dull from the build up.

Here is my wash the day after the ACV rinse. The above picture was the previous wash before that. I saw a big difference! I used the same exact products and methods. I am planning to do the apple cidar vinegar rinse about once a month going forward.

The other thing I did differently this month is try out a new gel that everyone on Instagram seemed to rave about—Aussie Instant Freeze Gel. Here are the results of my first time trying it (this was a few washes after the ACV rinse):

Another great hair day trying something new. I am happy to keep on trucking with the curly girl method and learning what suites my hair best!

trying new taco nights

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Since Christmas and our family taco night box ,we have tried out a few new taco recipes and enjoyed them all.

I am going to share a few pictures…but wow it’s hard to get a decent picture of food! I have a whole new appreciation for food bloggers.

But, to document our year of new taco nights, I am going to post my crummy pictures anyway 🙂

This was our first fancy taco night – chicken enchilada tacos that were made easy by calling for a rotisserie chicken. This was a win, our kids surprised me by eating them and Tom is apparently a lover of black olives.

They looked pretty legit in the beloved dinosaur taco holders. I highly recommend these things, I think they encourage my more picky eater to actually eat.

And these grown up taco holders are handy too! I can’t seem to make our tacos look pretty but the holders help a bit. Plus, it is nice to go ahead and make your 2 or 3 tacos at once instead of one at a time like we used to.

Next up was carne asada and I messed up and didn’t marinate. My husband went to cook the steak and realized I had skimmed over the direction. Whoops! They were tasty still.

I didn’t get other pictures from this night I guess but the kids were all about the steak. I was so shocked since Sam prefers to eat bread and desserts. They even had the leftover steak the next night. Win.

Next up was a Sriracha Honey Lime chicken taco. I remembered to marinate! The boys’ chicken was prepped in honey and lime alone. Ours had quite a kick.

Again the dinosaurs didn’t disappoint. I picked Sam up this day and he asked me what was for dinner. I told him it was taco night and he said “yesssss we get to use the dinosaurs!”

Tom requested tacos for breakfast yesterday so he is equally on board.

I can’t lie, I am sort of craving the ease of making the tacos I have made 50 times and don’t need a recipe for. So we may sneak in our old stand-by soon. But overall this has been a fun way to mix up family dinners!

Random thought–I need to figure out if it’s hard to grow cilantro now that we seem to need it weekly.

Mid Century Monday #9 – Eames chairs and kitchen scores

It’s been harder for me to come up with Mid Century Modern posts these days. Not because I love the style any less, but because stuff is pricey and we aren’t buying stuff left and right.

We did find some Charles Eames for Herman Miller chairs a few weeks ago and decided to grab them up. I don’t know for sure that we have a home for all 3, so some may only be here in passing. But, at least one of these chairs is a keeper!

I really like the idea of period appropriate finds in the home, so we are always on the hunt. Just low key lately, because, well…Dave Ramsey and saving money and whatnot.

Here are the funky chairs. They belonged to Southeast Missouri University at some point, according to stickers. But they also had that Herman Miller stamp and I was so proud of myself for spying them!

Looking for makers marks on furniture is a fairly new concept for me.

These chairs are probably better suited at a desk, which works because I am in the process of looking for a desk. But, for now, they are fun in here and the orange works nicely with our vintage fireplace on the other side of the room.

Plus, they spin so the boys are in heaven.

Today was an exciting day for Mid Century Modern finds because we were GIVEN some really cool pieces. I am especially digging this atomic veggie and dip tray!

And the colors on these are so cheerful! The coral is vintage Pyrex which I love. If you haven’t ever just Googled “vintage Pyrex” and seen some of the gorgeous colors and collections, it’s worth it.

And finally a full set of these pretty patterned dishes that go perfectly in our bright St. Charles Kitchen.

Going with short and sweet this time around–happy Mid Century Monday all!

tidying up takeover

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Netflix hit the nail on the head for a lot of us by airing Marie Kondo’s series on January 1. Before I even heard about it, I (along with tons of other people I’m sure ) had mulled over the idea of a good decluttering and deep cleaning after putting away holiday décor.

I knew I wanted to tidy up things like my shoes and my medicine cabinet and a few more high traffic/quick fix areas and actually posted about that here.

But the more I watched Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, the more I let myself imagine how nice it would be to truly tackle the whole house, maybe even once and for all.

I am honestly not a pack-rat type. I am lucky in that I don’t usually form attachment to clothes the boys have outgrown or too many items other than a small amount of sentimental ones.

I like to even consider myself well-organized and a quasi-minimalist (in that I don’t like things on my counters or in my line of sight). But still, tackle the whole house? Marie Kondo recommends getting this all done at once, and what better time than dreary dull January?

It dawned on me that I was like many of the families on the show with fairly tidy living areas but some truly messy closets, drawers, and problem areas. Some of my closets and cabinets really aren’t even messy, they just aren’t organized and random. Items wind up where they don’t really belong and this leads to a difficult time finding things or not realizing what you have and buying doubles.

I had some skeletons in my closets, or the closets were the skeletons.

You know what I mean.

I think Marie Kondo is smart to ask her clients to just imagine the kind of home and life that they want for themselves. I pictured tidy junk drawers and spice cabinets and for things to stop falling out of the front
hall closet when I open it.

Why does this really matter, you may ask?

I am a huge believer in the concept that visual clutter can cause stress. I have been known for years to straighten pillows and fold blankets in the living room before bed or clear out all the kids toys before relaxing with a movie. That is because I am positive I feel happier without seeing the junk.

But I am also starting to believe the invisible clutter can cause stress as well. I know for a fact that front hall closet is a disaster. It has housed some odds and ends for the 2 years we’ve lived here that really deserve their own home. I know that my sheets and comforters aren’t exactly folded in the linen closets; they are just shoved or stuck in there. I know the one junk drawer in the kitchen has turned into two.

And even though those drawers are shut and those cabinets are closed, I know it’s all there. So technically the invisible clutter is still with me. Imagine the wonderful feeling of having no real problem spot in the home.

I know… this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. A straightened couch pillow before bed might sound like lunacy and a second junk drawer may not bother you in the slightest. That’s okay!

But I think many people are like me—and we are those people who have been posting trash bags full of junk since January 1 thanks to Marie Kondo.

I didn’t follow her format or order 100% but still giving her the credit for my motivation and wanted to share some wins with you all! It’s mainly about the folding for me, it’s my favorite part!

My scarf drawer–I wish I had a before picture. It was difficult to close! I purged things with holes and stuff but really this isn’t much less than before and sooo much more room with the new fancy folding
sweat shirt drawer before–they really are sort of folded. Just rummaged through.
After with no purging! They all brought me a comfy Saturday on the couch kind of joy.
Cleaning supplies–the before was such a mess. We have 2 of a lot of things! I would have never known before.
This would be a “during” shot of the laundry room. Can’t wait to be ready with that after!
Tom’s closet before, and sideways. It was folded and fairly neat but drawers were impossible to close if everything was washed..
Tom’s closet after. If there is one thing I take away from Marie Kondo it’s this folding. It is a space saver and shows you everything at a glance! Like Tom’s 50 shades of khaki (AFTER purging many!)
Before cups/glasses. This doesn’t even show all the sippy cups that we leave sitting out on the drying mat because they don’t fit well.
I purged a ton of old sippy cups that were starting to leak or be gross. I moved seasonal to our holiday storage. I got stackables that save space and are super cheap and easy to clean. Win! Also got rid of an embarrassing amount of coffee mugs.
These are the take and toss cups and I’m a convert.
before – TWO full junk drawers.
After – one junk drawer and one drawer left for who knows what.
Paper storage was really nice to get a handle on. We did have a file cabinet and fairly ordered system, but it was a pain to get to. Now I have 4 binders: tax returns, home and auto, personal (sections for each of us) and manuals! Appliances, complex toys, the Roomba, grills–you can find the all in this handy binder. And if you ever go to resell an item, buyers may appreciate the manual!

Kids’s paper clutter is another thing all-together. I am so so happy with this system I started last year.

This pretty spice cabinet makes me happy now! Spices do expire, and we had quite a few duplicates that I combined!

My full list is a little crazy. I am not halfway finished yet but I am enjoying this process. I am spending maybe an hour after the kids go to bed as well as my lunch break most days to power through it.

I haven’t done much with boxes but I love how she makes drawers neat an organized with them. I have these soft boxes in my cart!

Listening to a podcast while organizing helps!

Could this be the last time I ever purge?!

I think a lesson you learn by cleaning out all these areas is that you don’t want to just do it again next year. How do you prevent that?

Being super conscious about what you buy. I am completely on board
for buying less because I’m ready to get back on the Dave Ramsey train anyway.

I would recommend cleaning out just one little drawer for anyone out there who thinks I’m nuts. It just feels good! And for those of you going full on Kon-Mari—tell me all about it!

So here’s to 2019 and less visible and invisibe clutter–why I’m tidying with Marie Kondo!

children’s book series

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One of my new year’s resolutions was to read a book to each child before bed each night. We were okay at this before—maybe 75% of the time. But I really want to work at making it constant.

I am guilty of choosing shorter (but still good!) books for my almost 4 year old, and I think he is really ready to move on to longer stories.

We have done a few this past week that take me a good 20-30 minutes to read and I am thinking WOW this is quite a book. But then I imagine how calming that must be to lay there in bed and end the day relaxing and listing to a nice long bedtime story and I am happy I’m doing it.

I hope to instill a love of reading in the boys and I don’t want to let a busy night lead to the bedtime story falling by the wayside.

Today I am going to recommend a shorter board book that my 2 year old loves. He gets such a kick out of it, it was a clear first choice for my children’s book series.

The book is Cowboy Small by Lois Lenski and it’s pretty simple. It does not rhyme or contain more than one or two short sentences per page. But something about it makes Tom’s face light up.

Of course this could simply be due to the fact that he is a die hard cowboy fanatic. We’ve only read it 10 times in the last few days after all. See below he is “roping” with that wild arm.

Unlike a lot of kid’s books we read, Cowboy Small isn’t really there to teach a lesson on sharing or washing hands and there isn’t much by way of a moral to the story.

Cowboy Small does fall off a horse and get back up on another one, which is nice and we have discussed why he’d try again.

I think the stand out is the illustrations. The book has a vintage feel with bright illustrations in what looks like an older hue.

When I looked up when the book was written, and Amazon said 2001. However, it’s actually a new edition since the author lived from 1893-1974. It was written in 1949. There is a series of “Small” books including Papa Small and Policeman Small that we will probably try out soon.

I would recommend this to any little cowboy or cowgirl in your life. Great as a gift and inexpensive enough to buy just because!

That’s all for this little children’s book series. I am going to do a quick recommendation each month to keep me on track with our bedtime stories, offer recommendations to my readers, and have a written record of what my kids were loving at any given time in 2019.

easy things to do around the house this January

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Do you get that itch to organize and deep clean each January?

It always feels like such a fresh start. We enter a new year with a zest to be better and with the best of intentions.

Will it last all year? Doubtful. But why not strike while the iron is hot and spend those dull dreary January days whipping your house into shape, little by little?

If you are lacking motivation to get started, there is always the new Marie Kondo Netflix series.

I love how she never forces anyone to purge-the lady who said two bathrobes sparked joy I was just sure would be urged to pick a favorite by Marie. Instead Marie seems to love when items spark joy and never suggests something shouldn’t.

It is refreshing compared to the world of HGTV where every single house is criticized for it’s “outdated granite” or bad paint colors. In this series there is never one mention of outdated color schemes or furniture or the more blandly decorated homes that could have used some art work or accent walls, only happiness for people who can tidy up.

The whole sparking joy process is a big project. If you are ready to tackle that then more power to you! I have definitely filled some trash bags this weekend, thank you to the Netflix show.

But if you want to do a little less (and still feel a big impact) here is a list of my go-to quick and easy around-the-house tasks so you can bask in a sense of accomplishment:

  1. Ligth bulbs. Is it just me or do you ever limp along with less than ideal lighting because a bulb or two has gone out? I currently have one bathroom and two kitchen bulbs out and have done nothing about it for 2 months. January is a great time to not only go ahead and swap these out, but to dust your bulbs and clean your fixtures!
  2. Junk drawer(s). If you only have one, I am impressed. Of the top of my head I have two in the kitchen, one in the utility room and one in the bathroom. And I like to think I’m a fairly organized person! Anyway, there is nothing wrong with a drawer for a few odds and ends, but when it becomes too stuffed to use it’s pointless. Cleaning these out is one of my favorite organizing tasks. They stay organized for about 5 days, but who’s counting?
  3. A place for everything. No, I’m not saying to go through your whole home with a label maker and become ultra-organized overnight. But, I do truly believe in the saying “a place for everything and everything in its place.” It is easier for me to keep the house picked up because I
    know where to put (most) things. And if you stick with this, your family members know where to put things as well. Eventually, you all just start putting items in their homes from the start! Anyway, what I mean by this task is, have you come into something new that doesn’t have a home yet? For us this year it is arts and crafts stuff for the kids. Being 2 and 3, we haven’t done a whole lot of painting or playing with clay, glue, glitter etc. until the last year. Recently it seems like we have a mountain of play-doh, coloring books, markers, colored pencils, stickers, pipe cleaners, paint sets, googly eyes, glue etc and, I love it, but I just don’t know where it goes. Whatever your odd items may be, take a little time to gather it up and create a specific space.
  4. Clean your appliances. The inside of the washing machine, the dryer lint area, the microwave, the oven, the dishwasher (if you haven’t ever cleaned your dishwasher, I’m telling you to do it now. The filter will horrify you.) You don’t have to do all this at once. But spaced out in 15-20 minute increments over the month of January, imagine how great you’ll feel with fresh clean appliances!
  5. Vacuum the edges. I have a Roombathat I love. I also have a Shark that I love. Between these two, our home is vacuumed fairly often (mainly because we have a dog).But, have you ever taken the slanted end hose attachment and run it along where the carpet or floor meets the wall in every room? A lot of dirt and dog hair can get stuck there and the vacuum doesn’t always reach it. So get the edges of the rooms as well as the corners of all your closets the next time you get the vacuum out. It shouldn’t add more than 20 mins to regular vacuuming.
  6. Shoes. If you have kids, you might have a few outgrown or worn out beyond wear shoes tossed aside in the closet. And if you are like me, the bottom of your own closet may look like a sea of shoes with some random clothing price tags scattered about. I like to pull every shoe out, vacuum, and organize them into rows. It’s an early look too on what shoes everyone needs for spring. I wear my sandals to death so don’t let the first warm day sneak up on you without a pair ready to go! I did this task over the weekend and it took no more than 15 mins for my closet and it’s so much nicer to look at now!
  7. Medicine cabinet/bathroom drawers. Wherever you keep the toothpaste, contact solution, make up remover, deodorant. This place could probably use a good purge and a wipe down. Get a new toothbrush or refill the jar of cotton balls. I sometimes leave an empty product just sitting there for whatever reason….so pitch stuff like that, check expiration dates, etc. This is a quick task but since you use this area every day you will appreciate it!

That’s my own little list for January. Of course there are a few large projects I want to tackle including finishing painting the bathroom tile I started back in March on the third bathroom. I just left the area behind the shower curtain and it’s so out of sight out of mind I have let it go 10 months…oops!

I’d love to hear if anyone else is planning any particular cleaning or organizing this month! If you have not watched Tidying Up with Marie Kondo I do recommend the quick 8 episode series or her book for some motivation!

taco night basket

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Our family has always loved taco night. It is easy comfort food at our house and I feel good making it because it’s not from a box or a freezer. I am not a home-cooked every night type of mom, after all.

We do taco night once a week pretty consistently and have for years. I wish I could find the picture of our first born enjoying taco night at table level. Laid out like a topping.

And by the way this was a random recommendation to me by my aunt who is wonderful with babies. When they are super tiny and can’t roll yet but want to scream all through dinner time (aka the witching hour) just put them right on the table. It really did work for ours.

Just don’t walk away from the table! I know you wouldn’t but I just had to add include a baby safety disclaimer if I’m going to recommend laying them on a table…

Anyway, as much as we love taco night, we’d love to mix it up a little. Currently taco night for us includes browning hamburger meat and adding a seasoning packet and then sitting out soft tortillas, sour cream, jalapenos, lettuce, cheese and some sauces. We include chips and salsa some times.

If I’m feeling like we are in a rut, I make chicken tacos instead. I just cook the chicken with a seasoning packet and some salsa in my crock pot all day and then shred it in the stand mixer, but all toppings stay the same.

It’s a very tex-mex approach that I do love, but I am excited to start our year of varying taco nights!

Here’s how I got the idea:

My husband, who has always been an excellent gift giver, needed another gift under the tree and I was drawing a blank coming up with a great idea.

He had been intrigued by the Man Crates commercial so I went to the website. They do have really cool gifts, but Travis really likes to research his stuff. Be it fishing gear, knives, grill stuff, hunting stuff—he enjoys the hunt for exactly what he wants, and I didn’t think a big box of items he hadn’t selected would be his favorite.

That is until I came across the taco man crate and thought he would love it!
However, for $100, it came with a tortilla press (which we already have) some sauces, some corn flour to make your own tortillas (um…yeah right), a tortilla warmer and a cook book.

Not to knock Man Crates at all because I love the idea of it, but I knew I could DIY this crate with more bang for my buck.

First of all I needed a crate and luckily was traveling to a town with a Michaels so I picked it up for under $10.

I filled it with:

the taco tuesday cookbook or try this Taco Tuesday cookbook adult taco holders

dinosaur taco holders for kids (it’s a family meal night after all!)

a tortilla warmer


a 6 pack of Mexican beer


Margarita salt

I did two this year:

Depending on how many taco holders you’d like, what sauces and food items you want to include or what cook book you go with, this cute and fun family basket can be done for about $60-$90.

Plus, I love the crate to use for storage or books or toys!

I am a huge fan of themed gift baskets/boxes and think this would be well-received as a wedding gift, a house warming gift, a father’s day gift, etc.

I have perused the book and it gives so many taco recipes from breakfast tacos to pork tacos, street tacos, and so many more. It will be a year of adventurous taco eating for us and I’ll share any of the stand out recipes along the way!